THE annual ritual of Royal Week in Scotland had an extra dimension this year as the Scottish leg of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour.
From the street party atmosphere in Glasgow's George Square on Wednesday, to the Royal Mile on Thursday and celebration of city status in Perth yesterday, ordinary Scots turned out in thousands to acknowledge the monarch's 60 years of faithful duty, their enthusiasm apparently undampened either by rain or by the publication of the royal accounts showing a £6.1m increase in travel costs.
Prince William had the grace to look slightly sheepish as he paraded in green velvet mantle and hat adorned with white ostrich plume after being installed as a Royal Knight of the Thistle. Nevertheless, this Scottish manifestation of the most ridiculously Ruritanian aspects of hereditary monarchy must be seen as a shrewd move on the part of the Queen to cement the relationship between her grandson and Scotland.
The record level of support for the SNP has not been accompanied by a parallel rise in republicanism. Alex Salmond, a pragmatic tactician, has recognised this in praising the Queen's "unparalleled service" and insisted that an independent Scotland would retain the monarchy, despite the republican element in his party. If the monarchy is not to be an anachronism in a future Scotland, whether it becomes independent or remains integral to the United Kingdom, future generations of royals must build their own relationships of mutual respect with the Scottish people.
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